Zanzibar will be fully covered by balloon-driven mobile internet – is Kenya next? – IT News Africa

World Mobile’s balloon-driven hybrid mobile network solution. Image from CityAM.

World Mobile, a mobile network provider based in London, UK, launches unique hybrid mobile network supported by low-level platform balloons in Zanzibar, as it plans to roll out its innovative service providing internet reliable mobile to more people at lower cost throughout the African continent.

World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to be officially launched in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide a digital connection to people compared to deploying an existing internet infrastructure.

Remote controlled balloons are powered by solar panels, inflated with helium and attached to the ground. Once in flight, they act as floating cellular base stations transmitting radio signals to ground stations and personal devices. The project – the first since a successful $ 40 million fundraiser – will provide coverage and access to the digital economy to more than one million people in Zanzibar by the end of 2023.

This is the first step in World Mobile’s mission to help put nearly four billion people online by 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank SDGs.

United Nations data shows that nearly half of the world’s population, 3.7 billion people, the majority of whom are women, and most in developing countries, are still offline.

Beyond Zanzibar, World Mobile is in talks with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other areas underserved by traditional mobile operators.

It plans to deploy 20 mesh sites – local Wi-Fi nodes – by January 2022 and 120 sites in the first six months of 2022, including the first aerostat balloon launch.

The deployment will cover approximately 75% of Unguja Island and provide access to the wider digital economy, including communications, e-commerce, finance, healthcare and education to the 896,000 inhabitants of the he is.

“We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth, and a world where people can seize the opportunities created by the Internet. Zanzibar will become the world’s first smart region powered by World Mobile, connecting businesses, schools and society as a whole, ”said Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile.

Mobile internet services are becoming very popular in Zanzibar, like everywhere else in the world. These services provide the masses with online access to information and communication through their mobile phones, helping to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas. More importantly, however, these services are uniquely responsible for promoting financial inclusion by enabling the banked and underbanked people of Zanzibar to fully participate in the emerging digital economy. While these services have become indispensable, the high cost of communication is a major barrier to entry for the poor majority. World Mobile’s launch of affordable internet service in Zanzibar will be a game-changer and allow the vast majority of Zanzibars to participate fully in the digital revolution, ”concludes Watkins.


Edited by Luis Monzon
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